Saying NO To That Picture Perfect Christmas Card

This year, I decided to give my husband a different kind of gift this holiday season.

Every year he willingly and cheerfully participates in our annual family photo session. I know it stresses him out; squeezing in an appointment on a beautiful sunset lit afternoon during our already busy fall months, wondering if the kids will behave, dealing with coordinating outfits, and keeping me calm as I stress over getting everyone to our appointment on time, clean, and ready to smile. We have had wonderful photographers provide us with beautiful photos of our family, and don’t get me wrong. IT IS ALWAYS WORTH IT! But this year, I decided to give him a break.

Last Year's Card
Last Year’s Card

This year, I said No. No, to the stress of finding coordinating outfits for a family of six. No, to the scheduled photo session at sunset on a weekend in October. No, to the debit from the bank account for the photo session. No, to worrying if my two-year-old would be grumpy when he awoke from his nap on picture day. It was a sacrifice on my part to give up something I really wanted to simply free up a little stress on the hubs this holiday season. My gift to him was saying NO to the picture-perfect holiday card.

And SURPRISE! It ended up being a gift to myself! The lack of stress. The simple iPhone photo of just the kids (having the beach as a backdrop helps). And my cards were delivered by Thanksgiving. And I saved money by ordering them before Thanksgiving. And I love this year’s card!

Our 2015 Card
Our 2015 Card

It helped me remember there was a time when I kept things simple. For years, my cards were just a snapshot of the kids or the family–until that one November when I happened to have a baby–and a professional newborn photography session. It was fun sending the picture perfect card–and it became the norm. I might lean toward keeping it simpler in future years, but I can’t promise I won’t say YES to one of those picture-perfect cards again one day!

My Daughter Loves Receiving Holiday Cards
My Daughter Loves Receiving Holiday Cards

Whether you use a professional or not, I say, please keep sending them! One of my favorite things about the holidays is receiving cards from near and far. This year, I’ve realized my kids love it as much as I do!

The First Time We Used a Professional
The First Time We Used a Professional
One of My Favorite "Snapshot" Cards
One of My Favorite “Snapshot” Cards
Kathy Waller
Kathy is a Georgia girl who followed her surfer husband Chuck to the beaches of Jacksonville where she became mom to elementary-aged twins Sophie and Will, preschooler Lainey, and baby Henry! Stay at home mom and avid volunteer, Kathy truly believes in teaching her children to embrace the community, to depend on each other, and to serve one another. Kathy served for a decade in the Junior League of Jax and is in her third year serving on the executive board of the PTA where her children attend school. She is very active in her church, Neptune Baptist and has been involved in the MOMS Club of Jax Beach for over eight years. Kathy has learned so much in her career as a software consultant for Oracle, but is always amazed at the skills she has acquired as a mom and community volunteer. Kathy also enjoys running and completed her last marathon (#9) in 2011, but always wonders if she shouldn't just do another to have a good even 10 under her belt!


  1. SO SO SO true! I could never pull off the “perfect” family photo – so I just avoided it all together. (Though, somehow was able to do it for my work team – guessing because someone else arranged it all-LOL). This year I just gave up and did the traditional card, no photos – but I LOVE getting other peoples photos -its such a catch 22. Thanks for sharing!


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